Jill Mettler from Tokai in Cape Town has transformed her suburban garden into an organic food forest, filled with fruit and vegetables. Jill shares
‘My green route begins when I wake up, with an organic espresso. Armed with the previous day’s coffee grounds and vegetable peels, I make my way into my food forest and take note of what is ready for the day’s dinner prep.
A scatter of coffee grounds around acid-loving plants like the blueberry bushes, a snack on some fresh peas, a granadilla that’s just fallen and a few berries. Then it’s off to feed the earthworms in my worm farm and tap off some vermi-tea in a watering can to feed my edibles.
On weekends and on beautiful evenings, I only need to take a few steps out of the gate and I am in Tokai forest behind our home. I always take a cloth bag along so I can pack in some foraged mushrooms, pine cones for crafts or a braai fire and a few bags of pine needles for garden mulch.
As the forest clears the fragrant fynbos area begins with staggering mountain and vineyard views. The whole family and the dogs are always ready for a long walk along the decked path which leads around the reserve. It leaves you energised and in absolute awe of the beauty of nature.
Sometimes we cut through the shoulder-high pelargoniums and protea bushes until we reach the stream where there’s always a social reunion, bumping into friends or playful dogs and their owners.
It’s such an honour to have this incredible space living in a vast city like Cape Town. We are able to run and explore nature at its best.
My ultimate spot in Cape Town is Chapman’s Peak. We’ll pack a good picnic and arrange to meet the family or friends and spend the day on the majestic mountain, taking in the endless ocean views and relaxing till it’s time for sunset and watching the world transforming into glorious pinks, oranges and mauves.
There are few places on earth that can compete with the natural beauty of this spot.
The week begins filling up the pantry and fridge. My first stop is Organic Zone in Lakeside. They have a wide range of fresh produce, including rare fruit and veg such as tree tomatoes, black carrots and banana shallots.
I was so excited to grow unusual veggies and fruit because no-one else was selling them but Organic Zone has a big seasonal variety of fresh produce. Mine are not so special after all! But I am actually thrilled more people can get to experience these exciting crops.
I’ll buy a few ready-made foods and puds, biscuits for the kids (made with organic basic ingredients as you would at home ie five ingredients instead of 20). They also stock grass-fed dairy, fermented foods and small industry bottled products like vinegars, mayonnaise, fair trade chocolate and all earth-friendly and natural cleaning products for home and body.
You can also stock up on some organic basics there too or stop for healthy sit down meals and treats in Natasha’s little veggie garden. I always drive away eating a grain free croissant or giant muffin. Such a treat especially for me with my food allergies. She’s a life saver
Jill’s garden was featured in the June issue of SA Garden&Home and some of her favourite recipes using her fresh garden produce are online. Ripe for the picking
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